Category Archives: Strengthening through adversity

Muscle only grows when it has been tried and tested, and then given a chance to rest and recover. And then doing it again. While we don’t enjoy the hard times, we can see them for what they are and who they help us become.

To those who feel helpless watching a loved one slipping into madness

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I defer the writing to my incredibly talented and insightful daughter Alex.

A few months ago she read a humorous post online that had a throwaway sentence along the lines of “I literally went crazy. Lost my mind.”

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She thought the post was funny and didn’t think anything of it. However, someone read and responded and was offended, saying things like “How dare you make light of a serious thing” and “You don’t even know what it’s like.”

It made her pause and think about what she would say if she had been the original poster.

The following is a thoughtful response to someone who deserves to hear from someone who truly does know what it is like.

Let’s call her Susan.

Dear Susan,

To be fair, this can be a really triggering topic for some people, and for that I do apologize. I’m sorry that you’re hurting.

However, I see the humor in it.

Continue reading To those who feel helpless watching a loved one slipping into madness

To those feeling themselves slipping into madness

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

Today I write to a young man who feels like he is losing his mind, and it’s making him crazy – because it’s inconceivable to him that he could actually be crazy.

Let’s call him Adam.

question mark6Dear Adam,

What is real?

Lately I would imagine that has become a question you’d rather not ask, because you aren’t really sure of the answer.

Scary, I know.

One of the hardest things is trying to find the words to explain it to those around you.

You know inside, even though you don’t want to acknowledge it, that something is very, very wrong. But you have told yourself that if you just give it some time, you’ll work your way through it.

And it will get better.

Kind of like a cold.

Or a broken leg.

I wish it could be that simple, but it’s not. Here’s the hard truth:

This isn’t going to just go away; most people won’t understand that something is really wrong until it’s too late and something bad has happened; and all of your natural instincts to fight it are pretty much going to make it worse.

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Reassuring, right?

So, what’s a guy to do?

It kind of sounds crazy, but accepting that you are a little crazy will, in the end, make you less crazy.

Continue reading To those feeling themselves slipping into madness

To the adult who is attracted to the same sex  

This is part of a series of letters to those who may feel lost. Sometimes when we are down, discovering something in the mailbox is just the thing.

It reminds us that we aren’t as alone as we think.

lonleyToday I write to a man well into his life and his career and fully capable of making his own choices – and who is growing weary of the loneliness his choice to master same-sex attraction may have brought him.

Let’s call him Jack.

Dear Jack,

Here we are – charter members of the Surviving SSA Club.

I suppose it has its benefits.

Right now I can’t think of any.

How about you?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Continue reading To the adult who is attracted to the same sex  

Yep, it’s a big bad world out there – but it’s also an amazingly great world in here

A few days ago our niece was scheduled to be in a talent show at the high school. Being three people with two cars (wow, there’s another of those first-world problems, right?) I was driving Ann in to work so I could attend the assembly.

The skies were crisp and clean and piercing. As we headed west, the sun was just warming the top third of the Wellsville mountain range.

It was pretty spectacular (almost as much as was the company).

When I arrived at the school, my sister was watching out for me in the auditorium. We sat right up front in the middle of all the students.

flag2As the lights began to dim, I could see that the room was filled to capacity. Without warning, everyone was on their feet and I was thrilled when everyone in the audience stood, loudly and clearly pledging allegiance to the flag.

No one had to be asked, or begged, or shamed into it.

It was obviously just a part of how they did things; part of who they are.

There was moment when I noticed the principal standing in the doorway – but he’s the only adult I ever saw.

The student association directed the program, gave announcements, invited everyone to the party after the ballgame, and told us all what a RAD time it would be.

I was blown away at the talent. For the next hour we listened to singing, rapping, piano and guitar playing and watched dancing, juggling, glow-in-the-dark yo-yos, and an excerpt from the upcoming school musical.

That would have been enough to keep my attention.

But the performance wasn’t the thing that we all needed to watch closely.

It was the natural behavior of the students themselves.

Continue reading Yep, it’s a big bad world out there – but it’s also an amazingly great world in here

Why is it ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?

Last week toward the end of our lesson at church this scripture was shared with the class. While the others moved on, I continued to plunge more deeply into these words we have all heard many times.

I don’t know why, but I have always read these words as a rebuke. I could feel the exasperation and frustration in the verses at why, after all this time and all that I have learned, could I still lack faith and be afraid.

But last week, something changed.

Let me paint the backdrop for you, so you can taste a bit of my journey in discovering what His message truly is to me.

For the month of January we have been given the assignment to provide Sacrament Meeting at a memory-care assisted living center here in town.

service3I’ve been trying to play the piano for the meetings each week.

I’ve not been succeeding very well.

Regardless, it is a privilege and a blessing for me to just be there. It is a pretty sacred experience to watch family members or CNA’s tenderly take the bread and water from the trays and place it to the lips of one who has long ago forgotten how to do it themselves.

But they haven’t forgotten what it means.

Continue reading Why is it ye are so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?